WELCOME TO FESTIVAL COUNTRY! CANADA’S LIVELY EVENTS SCENE
Canada’s Lively Events Scene
Canada is a land of four seasons and, in each and every phase, there are hundreds of festivals to enjoy. Many, such as the Winter Carnival in Québec and the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in British Columbia, rank among the biggest and best events of their kind.
Others are deeply-rooted in the country’s history and culture, such as the many Aboriginal powwows that begin in spring, or the Gros Morne Theatre Festival in Newfoundland that highlights the province’s unique stories and music. Here is a sample:
IN THE LAND OF ICE AND SNOW
“My country is not a country, it’s winter.” You’d have to live in Québec to truly appreciate the famous line from French Canadian singer Gilles Vigneault’s song “My Country” (“Mon pays”). While cold, snowy days may seem to drag on for months, that hasn’t stopped Québecers, known for their joie de vivre, from turning winter into a time for celebration. The centerpiece of the Québec Winter Carnival, a 17-day event in Québec City which begins in late January, is the magnificent Ice Palace—made from 300-pound blocks of ice—which everyone enjoys exploring. Other must-sees include the international snow sculpture competition and the night parades. Elsewhere, check out the ice canoe and dogsled races, try ice fishing and have your photo taken with Bonhomme—the friendly snowman mascot (www.carnaval.qc.ca).
WINNIPEG’S INDIGENOUS EXTRAVAGANZA
Lively singing, dancing and drumming are all part of the powwow, along with colourful and imaginative Indigenous regalia, from the elaborate feather headdress to beaded moccasins and the jingle dress. Every year dozens of powwows take place in various parts of the country, but the Manito Ahbee Festival in Winnipeg in mid-May is one of the largest in Canada. It features hundreds of dancers who compete for cash prizes in numerous categories, along with awardwinning drum groups from across the continent. The event also recognizes the accomplishments of Indigenous recording artists and music industry professionals from around the globe, and features a marketplace and trade show. Back for a third year is the Music and Arts Program which includes a music conference and music showcase along with an art expo and traditional art competition with quillwork, beadwork, ribbon skirts and star-blankets. Cash prizes are up for grabs at the live art challenge, where visitors can vote for their favourite pieces. There is also a square dance and jigging competition in honour of the Métis community (www.manitoahbee.com).
BOLDLY GOING WHERE NO PRAIRIE TOWN HAS GONE BEFORE
How did a quiet southern Alberta town with a population of 1,917 people become the “Official Star Trek Capital of Canada?” It helps to have a name like Vulcan, the home planet of Mr. Spock, one of the show’s main characters. Played by the late Leonard Nimoy, as it turns out, he supported the idea. For two days in late July fans of the popular American TV series, and the
MICHAEL FRANTI, TD TORONTO JAZZ FESTIVAL •